Post Archives from the ‘What We Have Done’ Category

Sheep, Fences, and a Sunspill

Posted on: March 15th, 2017 by
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 Last week while I was away, I got a rather excited phonecall from my father, Holger. He’d gone down to Cae Non and found three heavily pregnant ewes had got into the field. There was nothing I could do from afar except call the farmer, who removed them the next morning (Diolch, Alwyn!) fortunately no damage had been done, but it soon became clear what the problem was: a thirty foot section of fence had blown over in the recent storm ,Doris’ – the dead bracken acting like a sail and snapping the raher rotten fenceposts. 

So, this afternoon, I thought I’d get some spring air in my lungs and have a go at repairing the fence. I thought it might take a few hours to do as I reckoned I’d have to dig all the posts in – the last time I had anything to do with a pig wire fence was when I was 7 with my grandfather. But I was pleasantly surprised. 20 minutes to clear the bracken, then the posts went in easily with a little persuesion from a 13-Lb sledgehammer. The ground here is very soft. Satisfied that the posts were secure, another  10 minutes of stapling the pig wire to the posts and job done.

I have noticed other areas of fence that are going to need similar treatment before too long, and as usual I’m looking for a more natural alternative. Perhaps a hedge, or maybe trees every few yards to act as living posts. I don’t know yet, only that something will fit.

In other news, as you can see in the photo, spring has come to Gwynedd… today we have had a very big event that terifies the renewable energy industry. A sunspill. I’m enjoying it while I can!

Kitchen Garden

Posted on: July 30th, 2013 by
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Not to be totally out-done by Dafydd, I planted up some little containers which I had painted green earlier in the year. One of them is actually an old book shelf, which had begun to rot at the bottom, so has been recycled! (The spaces between the shelves make excellent divisions between the different herbs!).

Kitchen GardenThis is the start of my Kitchen Garden, the photo was taken just after I planted my herbs out: thyme, sage, chives, sweet cicely, marigolds, greek oregano, and rosemary, mint and parsley in smaller containers.  I also have Melissa (Lemon Balm) at the other end of the garden. These herbs are all for culinary use but of course they do have valuable medicinal uses too.

This is just the beginning though. On this slightly raised area of stream bank, I also plan to plant black currant and gooseberry bushes next spring, and maybe a couple of apple trees! After that, we will have to see where the land takes me…

For your convenience!

Posted on: June 16th, 2013 by
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The new mini bathroomBeing aware that this is something one normally doesn’t talk about and without wanting to offend people, Holger is proud to announce that finally anyone who needs to ‘answer a call of nature’ can now do so in reasonable comfort. After the original loo tent withstood two harsh winters and then succumbed to gale force winds and even the reinforced frame didn’t hold out for too long, a hopefully more permanent toilet shed is now ready for use. Made of more sturdy tongue and groove timber it is large enough for people to wash and/or get changed although tall people might need to bend a little. All it still needs is a coat or two of paint before next autumn/winter, otherwise it’s ready to serve!

New Steps to Stream

Posted on: June 12th, 2013 by
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New StepsI had always intended to make wider, deeper, steps down to the stream. My first attempts were finally washed away during the spring rains – although considering just how much rainfall and flooding we had throughout last year I am amazed that they lasted as long as they did! These are infinitely better… Good for climbing down to the water, standing empty buckets beside you ready to be filled (remember: this is where all our water comes from; for drinking and cooking, washing and the loo and even, if we need it, irrigating the herb beds.) It is also now a lovely place to sit in the sunshine and relax and meditate to the melody of lively water running past one’s feet. We also have a resident, a mole, who now regularly digs out his tunnels and throws the results of his earth-workings out onto the side of the steps. I think that I might plant thyme here and give him an aromatic lawn!

An Expermient

Posted on: March 10th, 2013 by
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The thing is, that Cae Non is so different to what I have previvously experienced of country life that everything is a bit of an experiment at present! I spent a busy afternoon marking out, planting, and constructing a circular willow structure. It has a doorway on the oposite side of this picture which, in summer will afford a lovely view away down the field to the distant mountains. The only problem here is that needing to make it quite large so that at least 6 – 7 people can comfortably sit inside it (hope to hold outdoor discussions here as part of my ongoing workshops later in the year) the willow is not quite tall enough to bend over and meet to be tied in the middle to form the ‘roof’. I suspect that I have just planted myself a ‘willow crown’, but I have decided to call it ‘The Sanctuary’.


The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary


Planting the heart of Cae Non

Posted on: February 21st, 2013 by
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Today, just three days after Valentine’s Day, I planted the heart of Cae Non…. literally. Some of the red willow which I helped to cut a couple of weeks ago has gone into the planting of the heart-shaped centre of the Labyrinth in the middle of the land. As I worked, pushing the 6′ lengths of wood diagonally into the ground and weaving them together to form a 4′ barrier (or “fedge”), I felt myself connecting deeply with the spirit of the land and the joyful energies there. I planted not one, but two hearts… the one made of willow and my own. It was a profound experience of coming together with all the diverse energies I have been touching upon in relation to this whole project this last two years, but more importantly – and very distinctly – I felt my own roots sink deeper and connect with something vital, sacred and precious. In golden February sunshine, under a firmament of pale blue, with a half moon sailing high in the sky above me, I sensed the heart beats synchronise, mine with that of the land…. the Earth…. the Goddess in her early springtime youngest Maiden form… and I was literally enchanted!

  Heart Of Cae Non 002

Later, after dinner, as I walked across the field in the moonlit darkness, the land seemed to swirl and flow about me, responding to and “dancing” with me. The sky was utterly clear and ablaze with stars; the breeze sharp with the scent of promised frost before dawn, the path behind me shining in the moonlight like a silver ribbon…. but I could feel the stirring of spring and our duel energies pulsing as one, and I rejoiced.

I feel that today I have planted very much more than a few dozen willow whips… an ancient and priceless alliance has been re- formed, one which will grow year by year and reach out into many hearts, and hopefully bring healing, understanding, fulfilment and joy to all who come into contact with this place, no matter how tenuously or briefly that might be. If you stop and quietly listen, feel your own heart beating within your chest, you may hear another, second heartbeat… the same rhythm I sensed today; the pulse of the eternal cosmos… that which joins us all together… just listen….

Heart Of Cae Non 001